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Occurrence of Campylobacter species, Salmonella species and generic Escherichia coli in meat products from retail outlets in the Fargo metropolitan area

Kegode, Redempta B., Doetkott, Dawn K., Khaitsa, Margaret L., Wesley, Irene V.
Journal of food safety 2008 v.28 no.1 pp. 111
turkey meat, chicken meat, pork, beef, isolation, microbial detection, incidence, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, food pathogens, bacterial contamination, grocery stores, FoodNet (CDC), North Dakota
Foodborne illnesses are a substantial health burden in the United States, with Campylobacter, pathogenic Escherichia coli and Salmonella reported among the major bacterial foodborne pathogens. These organisms are often present in fresh meat and poultry with regional differences in incidence. The objectives of this study were (1) to determine occurrence of foodborne pathogens Campylobacter and Salmonella as well as generic Escherichia coli in raw meats sold in retail grocery stores in the Fargo metropolitan area of North Dakota in the Midwestern United States; and (2) to correlate observed prevalence with the product type and retail store. A total of 456 fresh raw meats (turkey, chicken, pork, beef) were purchased and tested for microbial contamination. Overall, 341 (75%) of the samples were contaminated with generic E. coli (n = 316, 72%), Campylobacter (n = 12, 2.6%) and Salmonella (n = 13, 2.9%). The meats differed significantly (P < 0.0001) in contamination rate with Campylobacter and Salmonella, but not among the five stores. The data indicate that meat products, particularly poultry (chicken and turkey), purchased from retail stores in the Fargo metropolitan area may occasionally be contaminated with Campylobacter and Salmonella. This signifies the importance of sustained surveillance of foodborne pathogens in retail meats. In addition, the data suggest that microbial contamination on raw retail meats purchased in the metropolitan area of a rural agricultural state are not higher than those reported for larger urban locales.